Healthy Living – Sesame Prawns

A delicious light lunch.

1. Stir fry raw prawns in sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame vege seasoning.

2. Spread avocado on crispbread.

3. Add baby spinach leaves, cucumber and top with freshly cooked sesame prawns.

Enjoy 🙂

Healthy Living – Work Life Balance

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I don’t always get this right; the work life balance.

I like to do my best and do it well, which sometimes means I end up working long hours.
But when I get a chance, I make sure I get the life balance part in.

Like right now, on my 10 day break from work.

I found myself without family this Christmas for the first time in my life, and I have to admit I struggled with the idea. Knowing I would be in a bad mood I turned down invites from well-meaning friends, and decided instead to book myself into a small cabin up the coast for the 3 days around Christmas time.

Right up until the day I was due to leave I had doubts. Was I doing the right thing? Should I stay and celebrate with friends I loved?

But I hit the road and it was the best thing I could have done. I had 3 days of pure bliss; total me time and total relaxation. My cabin was in a quiet coastal town within walking distance to a lake. You can see the photos here

Lake Budgewoi Track Walk

Sunsets at Lake Budgewoi

Birdlife on Lake Budgewoi

As soon as I arrived, I could feel myself relax, and I fell in love with the peace and quiet; the sound of nature; the sweet smell of green bush and trees along the lake; the bird life and the smooth shimmering water.

I found my life balance, and can highly recommend time alone. It may not be for everyone, but as an introvert I need it to recharge properly.

Coming back to the city has been a shock, but I am making the most of it. I live in a lovely area near the beach, and it is easy to continue the holiday balanced living when on a break.

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This morning I headed for the beach, and after a long walk I hopped into the ocean for a refreshing swim followed by an extra strong late at the beach cafe. I love watching people; imagining stories about them; finding new plots for future stories. Doing it on a hot summer’s day with the sound of the waves makes it so much more enjoyable.

By the time I got home I had worked up an appetite, and prepared myself some brunch to enjoy on the porch with my current read ‘The Obsession” by Nora Roberts.

Brunch was a delicious meal of:

Organic sourdough toast
Advocado
Vegemite, a spread us Aussies love, but most of the rest of the world hate
Truss tomato sliced
Cheese
Baby spinach leaves
Strawberries

Plus another coffee, of course.

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Best part is I have another 3 days off before work calls me back.

Right now the Work Life balance is tipping towards life.

I hope yours is too.

See you soon. I am off to the beach again this afternoon with a friend for some reading and no doubt girly chatting 🙂

Healthy Living – Breakfast for writers

A great start for any day. Especially if you have a big day ahead of writing or editing. It’s important to eat nourishing food that will help ward of those ‘need to eat snacks’ moments we all get when in writing lock down.

I find starting the day with a nourishing and filling breakfast helps. At least I hopefully won’t have to hit the chocolates till after lunch 😁

Porridge is my favourite.

1. Microwave organic rolled oats mixed with banana and milk till soft.

2. Stir in super seed mix and cinnamon

3. Add dollop of natural yoghurt and a few prunes.

And of course enjoy with freshly brewed large coffee.

Happy writing

Healthy Living – Mind and Body

This healthy living is hard work. Not just physically hard work, but hard work staying on track. We humans like to indulge, and I am guilty of that.

Still, it is the thought that counts, and I can say my intentions are always there.

This month is my NaNoWriMo challenge month. Last year I achieved the 50,000 words, but the muse has escaped me this month. I am about 7,000 words into my sequel to the novel I wrote last year. But the characters are no longer talking. It is hard with full-time work, but I was intent on doing it again. My mind however was elsewhere, and I chose to just go with what I felt I needed to do for myself.

It has been a full year and the usual end-of-year tiredness had set in. A personal family issue has been bothering me for the last three months. Enough to seek professional help, and it was the best I could have done for myself. The problem had left me empty, well at least not as creative as I could have been. But on the up side seeking help assisted me in maintaining a healthy mind.

So what are the main things I have learned that is helping me grow and move forward?

1. Even if you do not understand why or even agree, learn to listen and validate the feelings of others. They are real to the other person.
2. Another person’s decision and actions are not a mirror of you. It is their journey, not yours.
3. Self blame zaps your energy. You cannot change past decisions and actions. You only can affect future actions , so put your energy into them.
4. Learn to accept our roles in life are ever changing
5. Accept that we enter this world on our own and we only ever have ourselves.
6. Find peace in yourself and FOLLOW YOUR PASSIONS

I have walked a lot with the warmer weather approaching, and right now I am sitting in a park after an hour-long walk. Being outdoors is peaceful and clears any cobwebs. It is invigorating, and as your mind is part of your body, moving it improves your overall well being. Plus it awakens those creative juices.

I will continue my feeble attempt at healthy living, and looking forward to getting stuck into editing my novel in December. November for me was more National Me Month. Maybe I am onto something, NaMeMo.
How has your months been?

The Lost Hour

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The pavement rushed towards Angie’s face like an overnight intercity train. Last sound she heard was when her skull cracked; last thing she remembered was seeing three colours, red, blue and green. It was also what her facial bruising looked like over the next couple of weeks. First blood red, then the bluish tint and finally greenish. Not at all flattering.

Angie could live with the unflattering look, but hated her lost hour before stacking it and waking up in the hospital bed, dressed in white cotton; a stark contrast to her blood-stained face.

‘Good to see you are back with us, Angie’ the nurse approached her, exhausted eyes belying a face showing teeth from ear to ear.

‘Where am I?’  Angie whispered, her throat full of sandpaper.

‘You are in Merryvale Hospital. You fell and hit your head on the pavement. I believe a waiter from the Windsor cafe tended to you and organised the ambulance,’

‘I remember nothing,’ voice cracking with panic. What had she been doing in Windsor? Knew no one there other than an ex boyfriend; a real pain in the arse, in fact borderline stalker material.

‘It’s normal Angie. Your memory will come back in time. Relax and rest up now,’ the nurse assured her.

Her head spun sending nauseous waves up her whole body. The nurse passed a bowl just seconds before Angie’s stomach broke. It was lighter after. The bowl was not.

After a few days of bland hospital food and noisy cleaning machines waking everyone up at 5am, she eagerly returned home. Non the wiser as to her lost hour, she rummaged her handbag for clues. Receipts, train tickets. All pointed to her trip to Windsor. But why? She emptied her bag, but it still felt heavy. Something in the inside zippered pocket. ‘WTF!’ Angie slumped on the bed staring at the small black gun in her hand.

Angie’s memory never returned. Neither did her ex boyfriend.

Maybe a lost hour is best staying lost.

Healthy Living – Writing Passion

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Do what you love, follow your passions, make your heart sing. Whatever you call it, it basically comes down to self love, and what do they say makes the world go around? LOVE.

When I follow my passions I am excited to start each day and looking forward to my future. The positive effect is enormous on both my mental and physical state. It is part of HEALTHY LIVING.

Last weekend I indulged in a writing course through the Australian Writers Centre on Creative Writing. Courses are often expensive, but this one was worth every dollar.
I spent 2 days in their Milson’s Point classroom with a group of ten other aspiring writers and Pamela Hart as our teacher. Inspirational, intimate, professional, fun, encouraging are just a few adjectives to describe the weekend.

So what made this weekend so worthwhile, and what did I take away from the teachings:

1. To follow my gut in my writing
⁃ The teacher reassured me to go back to my original novel start.

2. Know your characters = plot
⁃ Work out your characters. This will bring out stories and plots

3. The more complex you make your antagonist the more believable they will be
⁃ Life and people are complex and cardboard characters makes for dull reading

4. Come into scene late , exit scene early
⁃ No need for too much ‘setting the scene’. Often you can cut out bits and go straight to the important part of scene. Same applies to the end. Finish on a high point.

5. Change pace
⁃ Keep pace interesting to continue to captivate the reader. Slow down after fast pace action scenes to provide a breather. Pick up pace after slower descriptive scenes. Escalate pace towards the end.

6. Never summaries an emotional high-point.
⁃ A high-point should end the chapter not drag it out.

7. Main characters journey
⁃ The main character has the biggest internal journey

8. 1st draft – telling story to yourself
⁃ Just write your story without worrying about being perfect enough to show to anyone else. Write to get the story down.

9. Opening of novel/cover/blurb must
⁃ Grab the reader enough to want to keep reading
⁃ A promise to the kind of book it will be
⁃ Provide orientation

10. Structure of novel
⁃ Orientation; set the scene
⁃ 1st turning point; major event in 1st or 2nd chapter
⁃ Complications; events moving the plot along, relative to story
⁃ 2nd turning point; 2/3 into story
⁃ Climax; pace quickens, protagonist must actively be involved.
⁃ Resolution; answers questions from 1st turning point.

11. Write even when inspiration is lacking
⁃ So true, the muse will arrive when we sit down to write

12. Connect with other writers and beta readers a must.
⁃ Have experienced this myself since starting my writing journey. A writer’s life can be lonely, and connecting with other writers is vital for sanity and for learning. This weekend I organised for my class mates to provide me with name and email and sent out a group email to everyone, so we are now all connected.

These are just some of the learnings from the weekend. The teacher covered so much more and provided terrific handouts that will help me in rewriting my current WIP.

The weekend gave me confidence in my writing and in the next step. The learnings I took away are invaluable. Part of me wished I had done it earlier, but with my novel already done I could also relate to a lot more.

It was absolutely a ten out of ten course and weekend. I was tired and head spinning on Sunday evening, but my heart and soul was full of healthy smiles, and I now have a certificate to add to my collection of learnings.

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Healthy Living – How to deal with failure

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Most of us want to be healthy and enjoy optimal living. But we are all humans and have to accept that sometimes we fail for whatever reason.

As you know a few weeks back I started blogging about my intention to living as healthy as possible. Well I have failed! I did tell you I would blog about both my successes and my failures. I knew there would be a few.

So where did I fail?

Movement

I totally stopped my morning yoga all of last week. My weekend trip to Katoomba followed by the start of our daylight saving just threw out my routine and energy level. That extra half hour of sleep in the morning seemed more important than my yoga routine. But I am back again this week so all is well.

Heathy Eating

Totally out of character I was driving home from work Monday night and a sudden craving for chips came over me. So I popped into a fast food place and ordered not only chips but also a hamburger. I can’t remember when I last did that, but I did enjoy it.

How to deal with failures

I have decided I am not going to heat myself up about either failures. We will fail in life, but it is how we react and deal with it that matters.

  1. Accepting our shortcoming, which often makes us more endearing, can turn our failures into successes long term.
  2. Accepting and moving on with new and stronger intentions to do better will only help us.
  3. Realising that to fail means at least we have tried and that in itself is a success.
  4. Focusing on the successes we have had in other areas and give ourselves extra pats for these.
  5. Staying positive and not stress about it, as stress is often our biggest health killer

So for me it is onwards and upwards. I am determined to continue my pursuit of a healthier life.

Love to hear how you have dealt with failures in your life. Feel free to comment.